StoneFly IP SAN makes world’s largest broadcaster get rid of DAS for blade servers and new applications!

Capitol Broadcasting Company (CBC) is known to be world’s largest broadcaster, as it owns five television stations, a radio station and a radio network. This Raleigh based satellite provider is relying on StoneFly IP SAN to get rid of Direct Attached Storage for blade servers and new apps in its IT environment.

Going with the history, CBC’s WRAL-TV was the first station in the nation to transmit public broadcasting in high-definition television (HDTV) and the first station in the world to air an entire news broadcast using HDTV. So, with such humongous capacity of content to deal with the company’s data storage requirements outpaced its existing direct-attached storage (DAS) resources within no time. Additionally, the company starts to face another storage challenge of embarking upon a plan to implement a new email- archiving system.

CBC’s WRAL-TV was consuming around 850GB of local disk for email-archiving alone in less than two months. So, the company had only had an option to add more disks into the fray or go for a more sophisticated approach by adding a SAN appliance, which would allow the IT team to take storage and allocate it across several systems.

While e-mail archiving was the catalyst to move beyond DAS, other looming IT challenges which the company faced were also driving the need for more robust storage, including an IBM Blade Center initiative, and the desire to upgrade to a more effective backup system.

With a go-ahead from upper management, the company’s team of system engineers began surveying the IP SAN landscape. They looked at NetApp’s IP SAN offerings, and found to be prohibitively expensive. They also evaluated solutions from other leading market players, such as StoneFly, Inc. and LeftHand Networks… In the end, they determined that StoneFly’s all-inclusive solutions offered the most SAN for the money, with built-in Snapshot and replication capabilities to prevent against the loss of critical data, as well as centralized storage management, control and monitoring of logical storage volumes.

CBC chose dual StoneFly Integrated Storage Concentrators (ISC) to support its wide-ranging storage endeavors. Configured for CBC as an active-active cluster for load balancing and complete redundancy, the ISC systems offer all the scalability needed for the company’s expanding IT requirements. As the cornerstone of StoneFly’s IP SAN product family, which has been shipping since June 2002, all StoneFly ISC systems are designed from the ground up to support next-generation storage technologies including SAS, 4GB Fibre Channel and 10GB iSCSI, as well as large-scale IP SAN deployments.

In addition, they are capable of reutilizing direct attached storage resources, as they work in conjunction with StoneFly’s StoneFusion Storage Virtualization Technology.

StoneFusion incorporates Snapshot capabilities for instantaneous data recovery; block-level virtualization for increased storage utilization and capacity provisioning; and a comprehensive range of storage services such as clustering, storage consolidation, access control, volume management, and synchronous and asynchronous mirroring.

CBC gained the following benefits with StoneFly IP SAN deployment:

  • The company was able to retrieve archived items quickly and easily.
  • At the same time, the StoneFly SAN has also made a dramatic impact on CBC’s demanding backup requirements. Once required to perform tedious local backups across the enterprise, the CBC IT team now implement backups to disk using the SAN. The organization has experienced a 100 % increase in backup performance through use of this new streamlined process, cutting CBC’s backup window in half. With 6TBs of data to manage overall, the team of system engineers have designed a routine that entails full e-mail backups on a nightly basis and differential backups at regular intervals for other aspects of the enterprise.
  • CBC was able to further leverage the new SAN to support WRAL’s main file server, which failed in the midst of the new e-mail archiving project. The IT team assigned another volume to the SAN and hooked it up to a new server, eliminating the need for a hard drive.
  • With its e-mail archiving and backup challenges behind it, CBC began implementing a long-awaited plan to build a new IBM BladeCenter to accommodate a critical new document management system. The high-density Blades, which consume less power and require less cooling than traditional servers, were installed in a 14-server chassis. Because IBM offers BladeCenter systems with or without built-in storage resources, WRAL chose to consolidate storage resources efficiently by ordering the Blades without disks. The company was then able to centralize storage to the SAN, while using it as the operating system hard drive for the Blade- Center. This allowed CBC to implement a scenario in which the diskless Blades boot directly from the SAN using a QLogic iSCSI HBA.
  • With the StoneFly IP SAN supporting the BladeCenter, CBC was able to eliminate costly disk expenditures for the servers, while also gaining an added measure of redundancy. The flexibility of the SAN is such that, if one blade self-destructs, a replacement blade can be installed easily – without data loss.

Finally, the IP SAN is ready and waiting to support additional requirements at a moment’s notice, including a plan for a centralized CBC-wide email system. On an overall note, StoneFly IP SAN allows us to expand the company’s storage on the fly, enabling us to keep pace with the ever-changing storage demands of this dynamic organization

To more call 510.265.1616 or click StoneFly IP SAN.

This entry was posted in datacenter, IP SAN, iSCSI, StoneFly and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.